By Karen Billing
Burglaries are up in Rancho Santa Fe for the first six months of the year; residential burglaries alone are up 69 percent compared to the same stretch of 2011. Rancho Santa Fe Patrol Chief Matt Wellhouser said there were 27 burglaries (25 residential/commercial, two auto) in the first six months of 2012, up from 14 last year (13 residential, one auto). Twenty-two were residential, three were commercial and two involved vehicles.
Most of the burglaries are believed to be a series as the suspects are using similar methods and stealing similar types of items.
“Out of those 27 burglaries, only nine of them are forced entry,” Wellhouser said. “We’re not seeing people lock their homes and set their alarm systems. People need to do that, it’s a big deterrent.”
He spoke of one case where a suspect tried to break a window by throwing an object at it and the alarm went off — preventing a potential loss of valuable property. Wellhouser said while the crime rate is still very low in Rancho Santa Fe, people need to remember to lock everything up.
One positive increase the Patrol saw in the first part of 2012 was an increase in suspicious person calls, a sign that residents are being more vigilant. The Patrol recorded 67 suspicious person calls, up from 41 in the same months last year. Many of the cases involve door-to-door solicitor scams — individuals pretending to sell magazine subscriptions.
The Patrol has also seen a 6 percent reduction in traffic collisions from the same period last year. Wellhouser attributes the reduction to hard work and collaboration with the CHP on providing greater presence in areas that are problematic or get the most complaints from residents.
Many of the crashes in the area are handled by the CHP, but the Patrol is called on for injury accidents.
As reported in this newspaper, Wellhouser said, unfortunately, Rancho Santa Fe just had a hit and run accident on July 6 resulting in the death of 19-year-old cyclist Angel Bojorquez, who was riding home from work at Albertsons on Via de la Valle. A RSF Patrol officer was the one who discovered Bojorquez on the side of the road. The driver of the vehicle, Jin Hyuk Byun, was arrested on July 8.
In the first six months, the Patrol has also conducted 118 requested security checks.
“Please call us when you leave for a trip,” Wellhouser said. “We’ll check the house and make sure everything’s A-OK.”